Eating fat won't make you fat, if you do it right.Shutterstock
Fat in food has gotten an unfair reputation as a belly-bulging demon that can wreck your diet and cause you to gain weight.
But the truth is, we need some fat in our diets to survive. The proper amount of the right kind of fat can fuel your body and help feed your brain. Many studies have shown that people who eat more fat don't get more fat, nor do they have higher rates of other health problems like cancer or heart disease.
It's true that fat packs a punch: it's got more energy, calorie for calorie, than carbohydrates or proteins do, which means a little bit can go a long way. But you probably don't need to track how much fat you're eating every day.
Incorporating healthy fat into a diet can help people stay full, survive harsh conditions, and perhaps even live longer than their peers. One 2016 study followed more than 126,200 men and women for more than 30 years, and found that those who ate more healthy, unsaturated fat and less carbs were less likely to die from all causes.
One of the main reasons we need to eat fat is because it provides some essential fatty acids that our bodies can't produce on their own.
That's not an excuse to slather a layer of heavy lard onto everything you eat. The kinds of fats we consume make a big difference. Researchers have discovered that replacing just 5% of a person's saturated fat intake with healthier polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats is associated with a roughly 13% to 27% reduction in mortality. Eating the right kinds of fats, however, can help keep your body satiated, protect your cells, and keep your heart healthy.
Here are some prime examples of foods with the best fats that you could probably be eating more of: